Flashback 5 Years to Mailbox Magazines and Handwritten Worksheets

As many of you know, my husband and I are moving about an hour north of Houston into a new house next month.  I'm also pregnant and due in October, so I am taking next year off.  That means every teaching related material that I have collected over the past nine years is sitting in our apartment.  I shared this on Wednesday, but just in case you missed it, here's what I need to clean and organize.
We currently live in an apartment and I when I move, I am determined to have a clean, grown up house...meaning I will not have a room full of all this!  So I have started going through it to see what I can get rid of, use for something else, etc.

As I started going through a couple of bins yesterday, it occurred to me just how much my "style" has changed over the past few years.  I moved here four years ago from Connecticut.  Before that, I taught first grade for four years and second for one.  Of course I brought EVERYTHING with me.  I worked hard to get all that stuff!  But then I got a job in second grade and most of my stuff was for first grade and has been sitting in the closet for four years...yes...time to throw it out but not without some reminiscing about how times have changed.

I guess now that I have taught for nine years, I am an experienced teacher.  But compared to others, I am still a young teacher.  So all of my looking back is relative to my age.  I can't even imagine how things have changed for people who have been teaching 20-30 years.  And yeah, I know the biggest change is all the testing (and technology), but these are some smaller things more within my control.
With me I brought nearly a hundred of these Mailbox magazines and teacher resource books.  Which of course I have not touched.  So they are finally ready to be recycled and it doesn't even pain me to do so!  No longer do I see the need for them as I find everything I need online.  But I used to get so excited when they came in the mail and to find the new worksheets catered for the holidays...just the same as I do now shopping on TpT!
Then there are the files...and homemade or altered worksheets...none of which I have touched.  I cannot believe that I ever used a handwritten worksheet!  But look how much effort went into the straight lines and neat handwriting.  I obviously used a ruler. I also remember cutting, pasting, using whiteout...whatever I had to do to make it what I wanted.  What was I thinking?  I had a computer and knew how to type!  No longer do I keep files of paper, I just scan and save everything on my computer (a copier at school that scans has been a lifesaver for me...makes that task so easy!).
Homemade centers...they don't look very appealing anymore do they?!  Maybe kids are spoiled now?  I mean my students (and me!) used to think these were fun!  Now I'm thinking where's the color?  They aren't laminated!  They are handwritten!  By the way, those are of course Dr. Seuss fact families and doubles bowling.

Do you remember these things? Do they make you cringe too or have I just become a teaching snob?!


  1. I can relate. A couple of years ago, I started to scan some of my copies in files to save them digitally. It takes time to scan and save them as a pdf. I really must have loved the activity so much to scan it! I used to love getting those Mailboxes in the mail. Mine are all recycled or thrown away. It does feel good to downsize! Good luck! Congrats on your pregnancy!


  2. Jessica, I used to work at The Mailbox, so I have YEARS of issues preschool, kindergarten and Primary. Plus all those teacher resource books I bought in the 90s! I just can't let them go. When I look at them I, too, am struck by how times have changed so quickly! Getting sentimental here...:)
    Smart Kids
    ABCs of Reading

  3. Jessica! I started teaching in 1980. We made worksheets by hand and then copied them on a mimeograph machine that you cranked yourself. The copies came out in purple ink and were slightly damp for a few minutes. You could type on a master with a real typewriter, but the ones I had access to had no way to correct typos. So, sometimes you just blacked out mistakes and ran the copies anyway. We also used textbooks for nearly everything. No hands-on work at all. It was too expensive to get supplies. When those Mailbox magazines became available I thought I was in heaven! How's that for a walk down memory lane?
    Teachers Are Terrific!

  4. I can totally relate! My first year of teaching was the 73-74 school year. I thought the mimeograph was wonderful! There were very few teaching idea books-most were typed with a few hand-drawn illustrations and put together with binding combs. File folder games were just beginning to be popular as was the open classroom and centers. I taught fifth grade (even though I had an early childhood degree) in a large open area that had been 2 classrooms with a veteran teacher and one assistant. We had 78 students between us! Fast forward 41 years to a primary special ed classroom. Everything is technology, the internet, blogs and TpT! What a difference!

  5. You are so right of how much things have changed. I remember standing in the isles of the the local teacher supply store looking through all the resource books with worksheets for hours. Then going back and using the dreaded mimeograph machine mentioned above. I always ended up with purple all over my hands. What a difference technology and TPT have made. It is amazing, and wonderful, the way that the teaching community has come together to share ideas and resources through blogging, pinterest and social media. Good luck with your packing.

    Luv My Kinders

  6. So funny you posted this. I just said something about this to my FB friends. I was cleaning out as well and found them. I said "the original Pinterest"! I used to do the same thing when I received mine. Got my notebook and pencil and started making lists of what would be good to make. I also found my old lesson plan book! You remember that long red and blue one with the spiral!? Times sure have changed!

  7. Yep...things have definitely changed. I have a huge 5 shelf metal cabinet FULL of these types of books. I also have a file cabinet full of folders of homemade stuff. Most of it is Kindergarten and First Grade stuff. I ver RARELY ever even open these two cabinets. I have a feeling they could go away and I would never miss them. You are inspiring me to make a change!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  8. So proud of you for letting go and recycling your old resources. I am packing up too and struggling. I was debating whether or not to keep art samples (3 giant folders full) that I never look at - but still could not let go. May have to re-think my packing - thanks for the inspiration : )
    Good luck with your move!!


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